We've all heard the old saying that to someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It's often been modified to say that, to a politician, everything looks like it needs a law or a tax. In fact, it's often worse with politicians, because not only is legislating what they know how to do, they're often judged on what kinds of laws they pass -- preferably in some sort of misleading soundbite fashion. This leads politicians to take a we gotta do something approach to lawmaking -- rather than a "can we do something to make this better, or will it simply make things worse?" approach. On top of that, unlike businesses, once a law is passed, there's rarely any attempt to check on it to see if it actually did help solve what it was trying to solve and there's almost never any kind of plan B if the original law doesn't work out. This situation gets even worse when the issue involves children -- because politicians love to claim they're doing something to protect the children. So, with that in mind, it's perhaps not at all surprising that a new "task force" on cyberbullying is out there claiming that Congress must do something about cyberbullying. What is that something? Well, that part doesn't seem too clear. So far, about the only suggestion seems to focus on increased funding for bullying and harassment prevention programs. What programs? Do they work? Who knows? Who cares! We're passing a law! It's absolutely true that cyberbullying can be painful for kids -- and it would be great if there were a way to minimize it (or minimize the impact of it). However, a legal approach to trying to solve bullying seems about as likely to work as having Spider Man tell kids to stop bullying (both of which have been tried). In other words, it's not going to have much of an impact, but laws still need to be passed and taxes still need to be assessed. Perhaps that's the solution: they should put in place a tax for cyberbullies. Either that or maybe they can just buy kids a copy of the new Bully video game.
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